Jessica Lynn Interview
By: Dennis M. Kelly
DK: Good day Jessica, how are you today?
JL: I’m well, thank you so much for asking!
DK: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer some questions for us today!
JL: My pleasure!
DK: So, you’ve got some great things going on, starting it all off with a living room performance today and a great new single for the song, Getaway Car, can you share with me everything you’ve got going on and how you’re doing throughout it?
JL: I have been so genuinely surprised how busy I have been throughout the pandemic. When my world tour got cancelled this past summer, I really did not know how I was going to proceed in terms of my career this year but it has been so wonderful to be doing so many livestream performances and interviews and I was so proud to be named one of Pollstar’s Top 40 livestreamers of the year.
It has also been a lot of fun getting very creative in terms of putting out new content and recording my upcoming record. So far, I’ve released 3 singles off “Lone Rider,” which is almost complete and to be released later this year, and I have been just trying to stay positive each day. I also adopted a rescue dog!
DK: I am so sorry about your tour, I understand it took you about a year to put it all together, so, I cannot imagine the level of impact that it was for you, not only the amount of work involved, but also and most especially, not being able to connect with everyone on the road. Well, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder and hopefully when this pandemic is over, the live show experience will be better than ever! That is so awesome to hear about your rescue dog, congratulations!!
Now, Getaway Car is the fourth single off your debut album coming out later this year entitled, “Lone Rider” which is available now for pre-order on your site. How was it recording the album, especially since you did not anticipate putting a full album out at this time. What was it like and what were some challenges for you and the band?
JL: Recording this album has been a silver lining in the pandemic for me. It was only supposed to be a 6 song EP that has developed into a 13 song record because I was home to be able to do it. It was a really fun process recording the record and sinking all of my emotions from this year in to something really special. Luckily, the band had completed almost all of their parts before the virus got very serious so it did not impact our recording schedule whatsoever. I would say our biggest challenge was me continuously writing and wanting to add to it!
DK: Where did you record the album?
JL: My home studio!
DK: It seems that more and more artists have their own home studios these days. Larkin Poe in fact put together their new covers album, Kindred Spirits from home as well. How was recording this album compared to your EPs?
JL: This process was very different from how we have recorded in the past because there was so much more emotional intensity behind it. Being that I had lost so much this year, I really felt so connected to this record because in a way, it was all I had.
DK: I can totally understand that and it will make your debut that much more memorable and impactful for you, your fans and soon-to-be fans as well! Where there any different (guest) musicians included on “Lone Rider”?
JL: One of my absolute favorite musicians and people is based in the UK and his name is Steven Marks. He is one half of the country duo, “Gasoline & Matches” who were my opening act on my very first UK tour years ago. They have become some of our best friends. He played the guitar and sang on one of my favorite tracks called “You Wouldn’t Know.”
DK: Very cool! I love when there are guests on songs like that! Is there a theme or any main message you want your fans to come away with once everyone gets to hear the album?
JL: I would love people to walk away with the message that you can be anything you want to be in life. Although this record is labeled as “country,” it is so heavily laced with rock, the blues, pop, and soul influences. My music has been described as “Arena Country with Motown and Soul undertones.” Lol!
DK: Lol, well it is great to be versatile and music is all about influences and moods and moods never stay confined to one feeling, so it is better to be able to reach more people with the different genres.
JL: Oh yes, I went in to making this record totally uninhibited and unafraid of being different. I unapologetically was “me.” I think there’s something important to be said there and that it’s an attitude we all can take and apply in our daily lives.
DK: For sure! That is totally the way to do it! Kudos to you! Do you have the album cover for the album done yet?
JL: Oh yes I do!! And I’m so excited about it!
DK: With the cover of Getaway Car being quite a bit different from your other singles and EPs, with the “Lone Rider” cover take on a similar look?
JL: I had so much fun creating the artwork for the Getaway Car cover and yes, I specifically wanted to do something very different than anything else I had put out. The artwork for Lone Rider will be still very me, but with a serious edge.
DK: Sounds very intense with all the emotion you’ve poured into it too. It is starting to sound like ‘album of the year’ material already! Shifting gears now, how have you and your family and friends been throughout this pandemic? Have you known anyone who has gotten COVID-19?
JL: We have all been healthy and have been very cautious from the beginning in regards to the virus. Unfortunately, recently I lost one of the first fans I ever had due to Covid Complications.
DK: Oh, I am very sorry to hear about that Jessica.
JL: Yes, thank you, it was a very hard day for me and was definitely a reality check in terms of how dangerous this is. Jim and his wife Diane attended almost every single New York performance for the last 7 years or so. He will be greatly missed, but kept within my heart forever.
DK: I offer my condolences to Diane for her loss, this has been so hard for all of us. These days have been most unprecedented with the pandemic, economy, and so many people affected differently, yet affected in one way or another. Have you gotten much feedback from your song, “It’s Just Not Christmas”?
JL: I wrote “It’s Just Not Christmas” a year ago and it is a very personal song to me as it is about my little sister. I was saving it to release this year because I wrote it too late into the holiday season last year. Little did I know, the world would be hit with this pandemic that would make the meaning and words of the song so poignant for fans around the world. Seeing the impact it had on so many truly touched my heart and I’ll never forget it.
DK: There’s been so much isolation in this quarantine, yet, your music connects with the listener in ways most music cannot. How do you channel the emotional aspects to your music, do you write songs at specific times/places, or do they simply come to you?
JL: This means so much to me. Thank you for saying that.
DK: You are most welcome Jessica.
JL: I think the reason my music connects with people emotionally is because I am not the type of writer that can sit down and say, “I am going to write a song.” All of my songs are written purely on a burst of emotion, or because of a very significant event in my life and I think people can feel how much they mean to me and how genuine they are.
DK: I, for one, have felt that. Having written with some of Nashville’s top writers, what are some takeaways that you’ve learned when collaborating like that?
JL: I have learned so much by co-writing and have met some really wonderful friends. It is always amazing working with someone with a totally different skillset and set of life experiences than you because they bring ideas and methods to the table that you never would have thought of.
DK: When did you write your very first song and what was it? How is it when you look back on it now compared to songs you’re writing these days?
JL: I have been writing and playing music honestly for as long as I can remember. My first “song” was at 6 years old but I started writing seriously at about 13 for my high school band. When I look back on that music, I actually see that the structure I like to use is very much so the same and the way I approach melody now was also quite present back then!
DK: Do you tend to write lyrics first or music first?
JL: I write everything together at once. I hear the entire song finished in my head even before I really begin; drums, strings, harmonies…everything.
DK: With your love for Rock and Country, do you ever foresee trying your hand at any other genres of music for fun or another EP in the distant future?
JL: Oh definitely! I love every style of music and I do think that is seriously reflected in the style of country music that I make. When you hear the Lone Rider record, I think you will see it is just as much rock and other genres as it is country.
DK: I love that you play guitar, piano, harmonica and drums, how did you progress with learning each instrument?
JL: I was classically trained on the piano and then learned each instrument out of necessity. I wanted to be able to show my band what I was hearing in my head when I was composing the music. By learning each instrument, I was able to do just that.
DK: Well, it is most uncommon to find a musician such as yourself as versed as yourself with the instruments and makes everything so much easier, I’m sure. What advice might you have for aspiring young musicians who get discouraged when learning one instrument?
JL: Never give up. Learning an instrument and pursuing a career in music requires a lot of dedication and practice. You have to push through the hard days and trust me, it will be worth it.
DK: Since you knew what you wanted to do since, at least 13, did you have any issues with school and your desires to be involved in music?
JL: I definitely did, however, I was a straight A, Honor Roll student. I am such a perfectionist and over-achiever that I approached my studies the same way. I graduated with honors and then attended an honors college and was even in the mathematics honors society lol. I experienced a lot of heartbreak in the music industry, even from a young age, so I always felt it was important to study something else I was passionate about as a back-up-plan. I have a Masters Degree in Special Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in both Adolescent education and Mathematics.
DK: You are truly an awe-inspiring woman, to have accomplished so much already at your very young age. What have been some of the most challenging aspects in your career?
JL: I would say the most challenging aspect of my career thus far has been the harsh realization that it is not always about talent, but about how deep your pockets are. It has been very upsetting and frustrating along this journey to see that many opportunities come not just because your song is good or you work really hard, but, if you have the money to pay for them. I have tried to not let it discourage me and to push on knowing that in the end, the blood, sweat, and tears are really what matters. You can’t buy that passion and I believe that it will prevail.
DK: Then there are the ‘who you know’ situations and also simply, being in the right place at the right time. I haven’t seen too many pay for opportunity situations myself, but nothing is ever what it seems in the music industry, unfortunately.
For your music videos, had you worked with the same people for each video? Or do you work with different directors?
JL: I have worked with the same director, Sean Tracy of Monstrinthedark for my last 3 music videos for “Run To,” “Now or Never,” and “It’s Just Not Christmas.” I really enjoy creating a special relationship with people on my team and keeping them there. My band has been with me since 2012!
DK: Well, you and your team have done some phenomenal work on the videos, you all have a lot to be proud of with them! Do you have a favorite video that has stood out to you in being the most fun to produce?
JL: I love them all for different reasons but I really enjoyed filming “Run To.” That was the first single and music video off the upcoming record and we faced many challenges filming it during the pandemic. It was very special and memorable for many reasons. You can actually see a “pop-up video” on YouTube of the making!
DK: Very cool! Aside from your incredible talent, I am also very impressed with your humanitarian causes, there are so many that you’ve been involved with, how do you find the time?
JL: Thank you so much! I have always enjoyed giving back, since I was very little even. I spent my weekends as a kid volunteering at a local animal shelter walking the dogs and cleaning the cages and when I formed my first band at 13 years old, we played all the time at a local children’s hospital as well as at several nursing homes. I’m a big believer that if you have a platform, you should use it for good and I vow to continue to do that.
DK: I agree and try to do what I can, where I can to help. I am definitely nowhere near as successful as you are though. As far as role models are concerned, I can think of no other better role model for young women than you, you are so intelligent, talented, caring and inspirational, everything that the entire world needs more of, not just young women. Do you have any moments that have touched you and given back to you in some meaningful way as you helped others?
JL: This really means so much to me… I can’t even tell you! Thank you so so much. Oh my gosh, there have been so many moments over the years that I will never forget. I was told at a concert overseas that my music and the joy I have on stage inspired the person to continue to keep living when they didn’t want to anymore. They wanted to find something that made them as happy as music made me. I saved a life that night. It’s moments like that that really change you for good.
DK: Yes, I would say that would have to be one of THE MOST fulfilling things to hear. In this world that is so dark, hearing something as powerful as that has gotta be the best feeling in the world!
Congratulations too on having been selected as an ambassador, representing our great nation as an elite member of American Music Abroad, how exciting! Since traveling is so uncertain at this time, do you think you’ll do some virtual events for this?
JL: Thank you! I am so excited! Yes! I have already begun with some virtual programming but am really hoping to get back on the road for real soon.
DK: That is good, I am glad you’ve been able to begin that incredible journey already! In addition to everything that you do, you still manage to personally manage your social media channels, have you found more success with any one platform over another?
JL: For me, interacting with everyone is what keeps me going on the hard days. I never understood artists that hire people to run their social media. Getting a message about how much my song means to someone or a message from a little girl asking for singing advice because she loves how I sing is SUCH a touching part of this job. It’s a reminder of why I do this in the first place…to connect with people. I have to say I think I love Facebook the most, just because it has the most features.
DK: Agreed! What are some books or movies that you enjoy?
JL: One of my favorite books I have read in recent years was a book called “The Gift of Fear.” It was about learning from and using those gut feelings and instincts you have and I found it so fascinating. One of my favorite movies is “That Thing You Do.” I watched it again recently and the music and the story are just awesome. I highly recommend it to any musicians or music lovers.
DK: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?
JL: I would love to connect with you all on my social media if you would like to follow! All of my links are right here. Thank you!
DK: Thank you so very much once again Jessica for taking the time to answer these questions, I cannot thank you enough! I wish you all the best in your tremendously successful career! God bless!
JL: Thank you so much. This has been so incredibly thought provoking and fun and I truly appreciate your kindness and you having me!
DK: You are most welcome Jessica! Have a wonderful day!
Listen To Getaway Car Here!
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